Busting out of a rut

I’ve been in a bit of a running funk for the last few weeks. Between IT band tightness and not logging as many miles because of holiday travel, I just… wasn’t feeling it. I was caught in that horrible cycle of “I’m-not-really-a-runner-I-hate-this-and-won’t-like-it-ever-again-who-am-I-kidding.” We all experience it, usually a couple times a year. And we know it’s not true.

I broke out of it a little during that great run in Scottsdale, AZ. But then I was flailing again. Cross-training a bunch but running little. The real low point was last Tuesday, when I slogged through a 3.25 mile run in Frick Park. It was snowy (and snowing) and I was trying out Yaktrax (they’re great) and it’s a very hilly park. And I just…wasn’t feeling it. I walked a ton, and spent a lot of the time berating myself (or taking it out on my iPod for not playing the song I wanted). Wednesday I tried my first spinning class. I knew it would be brutal, and figured that’s what I needed: to get through a really kick-butt workout and gain confidence that way. It rocked me. I kind of hated it, but loved that I got through it. I’m planning on going again this Wednesday.

But then it was Thursday, a usual running day, I just… couldn’t do it. The idea of going for a run was making me queasy. So I took the day. I took a long lunch break (I was working from home and started work at 7 a.m. with the explicit purpose of going for a lunchtime run), watched a movie and did some stretching and yoga on my mat in front of the TV.

On Friday I went on the elliptical for 50 minutes, something I used to do a lot but haven’t done in a while. I gave it a solid effort, and listened to NPR’s “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me” as I pedaled along. Then some stretching and foam rolling. I took Saturday off, per usual. And Sunday morning, the Nerdy Boyfriend and I just…were not feeling the long run. He had run on Saturday, and I was in a Major Running Funk. I promised myself I’d run on Monday (today) though. Win lose or draw.

This morning,at 6 a.m., there was no wind and it was a balmy 9 degrees. Ugh. Nerdy boyfriend whined. I whined. But we got our butts out the door. I dug around in my bag for my Garmin then decided – screw it. Let’s go without. And I’m so glad I did. It was FABULOUS. We did five easy miles and I felt really, really good, even on brutal hills that normally slaughter me. I brought a Gu with me in case I needed it, but I didn’t take it until after (it was a Chocolate Outrage one, and it was DELICIOUS. Like straight chocolate syrup. Seriously) and felt just fine. Nerdy boyfriend and I gauged each other every mile or so – “how are you feeling?” “pretty good, you?” “me too!” – and kept on trucking. We slowed down on icy patches but otherwise kept a pretty good pace. At moments I wish I had my garmin to confirm that I was doing well, but I think the fact that I didn’t have it made it more enjoyable. It was back to the basics, just me and the road.

Hopefully this streak will last. Tomorrow’s workout is a little up in the air. There’s supposed to be a rain/snow mix so I might go to the gym. I have pilates at 5:30 either way, which will be nice, especially since I missed last week to see the Hood to Coast movie (more on me wanting to do a massive relay race in a future post). No matter what the plan, I feel optimistic. I have less than a month left to take it easy and just do maintenance work. Then I begin training for the Pittsburgh Half-Marathon, which I just signed up for on Saturday! 🙂

In other news, on Saturday Nerdy Boyfriend and I got long overdue professional massages. They were fantastic. It was a nice thing to do together, and both the massage therapist found all of our trouble points and worked the hell out of them. My IT band hasn’t felt this good in weeks. We’ll be booking another session for after the half, to be sure.

The race report is coming soon, I promise. Pictures were posted (I look pretty awful) so I just have to get off my lazy bum and write it. Stay tuned!

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I'm a 30-year-old writer and runner. This is my running blog.

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